Cesar Chavez Rec Center to Close to Public Monday

By Courtney Burris | cburris@krbc.tvg

Published 05/16 2014 05:12PM

Updated 08/17 2014 08:16PM

It would take more than a half a million dollars just to fix the structure and expand the restrooms at the Cesar Chavez Recreation Center. The facility in South Abilene opened in 1978 and is now showing signs of wear and tear.

"You can see the cracking from the very top, through the window sill, all the way down to the ground" explains James Childers, Director of Community Services.

The city received information from an engineering firm that told them that it would cost at around $570,000 just to repair the foundation of the building and expand the restrooms.

"It was an easy business decision, but it was a very difficult emotional decision because we love our seniors, we love the kids that we serve and so it was difficult to share the bad news with them" says Childers.

Roxie Calsada has been coming to the Chavez Rec Center each day for the past fifteen years to socialize, eat lunch, and play games. She found out yesterday that the last day for senior programming will be May 30th.

"My first thought was 'Oh no'" explains Calsada.

She says she feared the bad news was coming, but she says closing a center dear to her heart is tough to take. "We come here and its kind of like home, you know?"

Roxie says that she and the others that call the Chavez Rec Center home will likely take their bingo and lunch to the Cobb Park Recreation Center. As for the city, a bigger, better facility is in the future.

For more information on the city of Abilene's recreation centers, click here.

The whole statement from the city is as follows:

ABILENE, TX –Cesar Chavez Recreation Center will close to the public after it has been determined that the center requires more than $500,000 in renovation expenses to expand restrooms and fix severe foundation problems. According to James Childers, Director of Community Services, spending that amount of money on an aging facility would not be in the best interest of the strategic direction of Parks and Recreation programming in the City.

Children who attend the afterschool program at Chavez Recreation Center may participate in afterschool programming at one of the city’s four other recreation facilities. Seniors are also able to attend senior programming at three other recreation centers or at Rose Park Senior Center when Cesar Chavez Recreation Center closes.

Existing staff will be reallocated to new functions and locations to better benefit the Recreation Division and the Community as a whole.

The final day of senior programming at Chavez will be Friday, May 30, 2014. Youth programming will conclude Friday, August 15, 2014, and the center will close to the public Monday, August 18, 2014.

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